If you are injured at work, it’s likely your company has workers’ compensation insurance in place to cover your damages. Some workers’ comp claims can be denied. Employers may be reluctant to move the claim forward because they don’t want their insurance rates to go up. This means you may not end up getting covered for your damages.
If you feel like your employer is giving you the runaround in approving your worker’s comp claim, don’t hesitate to reach out to Trey Harrell Auto Accidents and Personal Injury Attorney. We stand behind injured workers and look forward to representing you after an on-the-job accident in Charleston. Contact us at 843-701-8029 to find out how we can help.
What Does Workers’ Comp Cover?
Workers’ comp will cover specific damages, such as:
- Lost wages for time taken off work to recover from your injuries
- Lost earning potential if you are forced to take a lower paying job or if you are unable to return to work due to your injuries
- Medical expenses including those that cover care immediately after the accident as well as ongoing care such as rehab, prescriptions, disability equipment, etc.
If you feel your employer exhibited negligence in causing your injury, you may be able to file a personal injury claim alongside your workers’ comp claim. This can recover additional compensation to address emotional pain and suffering. It’s also a good option for independent contractors who aren’t covered under a workers’ comp claim.
How Do I File a Workers’ Comp Claim in South Carolina?
To file a workers’ comp claim in South Carolina, you must take the following steps.
Report your injuries to your employer
You must report your injuries to your employer in South Carolina within 90 days of the incident. Failure to do so may prevent you from being approved for compensation. While a written report may not be necessary, it’s recommended that you create a paper trail by sending something in writing along with evidence such as pictures of the accident, names of witnesses who saw the accident, etc.
Get medical care
You will need to see a doctor to get your injuries checked out. You must see a doctor that’s approved by your employer’s insurance company. The provider will determine how serious your injuries are and what kind of care you need. If you are not happy with the treatment, you may see another doctor, but if the doctor is not on the insurance network, you may have to pay out of pocket.
Follow up with your employer
Your employer is responsible for filing your claim with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. If they refuse to file the claim, you may file your own claim by submitting a Form 50 (if you are injured) or a Form 52 (if a family member is killed) to the Commission.
What Happens If My Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied?
Your employer has the right to file an answer on Form 51 which will confirm or deny your Form 50 claim. If they deny your claim, your case will be assigned to a commissioner who will hear your claim within 3-5 months. You and your employer will have the opportunity to present your cases at the hearing.
While you are not required to have an attorney present at your meeting, it’s likely your employer will have one representing them. Having your own attorney will increase your likelihood of winning your case.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of the hearing, you can file an appeal. The appeal must be filed within 14 days of receiving the “opinion and award”.
Possible Problems with Workers’ Comp Claims
In addition to having your claim denied, you may face other problems in trying to get compensation. These include:
Your employer downplaying your injuries
Your employer may downplay your injuries to minimize a large payout that will increase their rates. They may also do this because it will get you to come back to work sooner meaning less of a payout for lost wages. They may say your injuries aren’t so bad or that they occurred outside the work area.
Your employer failing to follow up on your claim
Your employer may also simply forget to file, or they may make a mistake when filing. This can cause delays in processing, and it may even result in your claim being denied.
If your employer is dragging his or her feet, be persistent in getting them to file on your behalf. If they continue to hold back, contact a Charleston workers’ compensation lawyer.
Fear of retaliation
Some employees may be hesitant to file a claim because they are afraid their boss will get angry and retaliate against them. Unfortunately, it isn’t unusual for employers to try taking revenge against employees who file workers’ comp claims. However, employers are not allowed to retaliate against employees claiming work injury compensation. If your employer attempts retaliation, talk to a lawyer right away.
Unsatisfactory medical care
In most cases, the doctor you see will be part of the insurance network. Sometimes the doctor is in cahoots with the network and is being paid off to downplay a patient’s injuries to get a lower payout.
If you are not happy with your care for any reason, you can see another doctor within the network, or find a doctor you prefer outside the network. However, if you see a doctor outside of the network, you may have to pay out of pocket.
Request a Charleston Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Help You
A workers’ comp claim can be more difficult to deal with than you might think. If you are having trouble getting your case taken care of, don’t hesitate to contact Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney. We’ll help you sort out the issues slowing your workers’ compensation claim so you can focus on recovery during time off work.
Don’t delay, call Trey today.